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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Marvdasht Public Prosecutor's Office: The Case of Persepolis Robbery and its' Destruction Still is Open


03 March 2009



LONDON, (CAIS) -- The case of destruction of part of Persepolis and the theft of an artefact are still open, and it is under investigation by the Marvdasht Public Prosecutor's Office, reported the Persian service of ISNA.


Until now 16 people from the excavation group and Security Unit office have been arrested, questioned and released on bail pending further investigations. The case was initially opened as the result of public and Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organisation's complaints, said Kazam Akrami from the Marvdasht Public Prosecutor's Office.


Akrami with commented on the lack of CCTV in the area and said we have interrogated security officers who are responsible for safeguarding the site and they have relinquished themselves from any responsibility, since they claim the robbed grave and its' contents were not reported to the Security Unit by the archaeologists, therefore the site was not included in the protection coverage zone.?


Afshin Yazdani from Archaeological Research Centre, back in January asserted that the Security Unit was aware of their excavation and the discovery of the grave.


It is not clear whether the archaeologists from the Iran Archaeological Research Centre had a duty to report their findings to the security unit, or if they had reported it, the security unit are denying their claim.


The robbed grave is only 100 meters away from their station.


The theft and destruction of the site took place on 17th January, after the discovery of an Achaemenid dynastic grave by archaeologists. The grave contained a skeleton, a ceramic beaker and a burner. The beaker was contained a grave offering which is now missing.


Archaeologists have found broken pottery near the grave, which could be the beaker - maybe it was broken in order to remove its' contents. Currently the broken pieces are in process of being reassembled and it is now 80% complete, to verify if they belong to the missing beaker. The point of reference is the pictures taken by archaeologists on the day of crime.


This is not the first time thieves have targeted Persepolis. The most puzzling theft from Persepolis was taken place in March 2006, when police seized a double-bull-headed capital in Kerman. The Persepolitan-capital was discovered in Kerman by vigilantes and reported to police. The artefact was bound to leave Iran for West. Neither, the ICHHTO, Persepolis officials or any of the Islamic Republic's state controlled news agencies had reported the robbery -- nor did they offer any explanation as how such a colossal capital which weighs few tones could be removed from Persepolis complex without the officials' knowledge.





Original News bulletin published in Persian by ISNA , and translated and modified by CAIS [*]




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